Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 Goals

Several times I have sat down to start a 2009 Goals post, as I have done in each of the past three years here on the blog. And several times, I have found myself in the very unfamiliar situation of what I guess is called having writer's block. Unlike my three previous early-January attempts to define what I want to do poker-wise and blog-wise during the coming year, for the first time I really don't have a clear sense of many specific goals for the year.

In 2006, I focused on my tournament nlh game, nabbed my first few mtt wins, and got into shorthanded holdem as well as HORSE for the first time in a concerted way. In 2007 I gave up my focus on HORSE and 6-max nlh, and opted instead to focus on satellite tournaments into larger events, cash, sngs as well as blogger events. Again I was successful in attaining these goals, crushing the blonkaments during the year and winning over 50k in satellite buyins across all the poker I played, while playing profitably at 1-2 and 2-4 nlh as well as in various forms of sitngos. Sitting here now though as 2009 begins, I don't really know where I plan to go from here. I suppose there are a few general goals I have for my poker play and for this blog, so at least I can start with those:

1. One goal I definitely have for 2009, one that I've already gotten a solid head start on here in the later part of 2008, is to withdraw more money from online poker. There have been numerous times during the past few years where I had a relatively large amount of dough tied up in the various online poker sites on which I play. Basically, when I win a big tournament or go through a good streak at sngs or in cash play, I would just leave the money in my online poker account at that particular site, and play with it. Invariably, I have found the same thing that some of my other successful mtt brethren have found, which is that when I'm sitting on a large pile of cash in my electronic poker account, I tend to donk through it a whole lot faster. Now, with the economy doing what it is doing and with things on the financial front in general just seeming a whole lot more unstable than in years past, I have adopted a different few. My choice over the past 3-4 months has been to make a nice withdrawal every time I make a big score on a particular site. I have been trying, and plan to continue to try, to keep my balances at any poker site in the hundreds, rather than the thousands. As I said, not only does this put more money directly into my pocket sooner, but I find it actually causes me to play better poker. So that's definitely one of my big goals for 2009 -- to keep withdrawing money at a more aggressive pace than I had been in the recent past.

2. Along those same lines I suppose, I plan to continue my focus on multi-table tournaments, and build on my success from 2008. As I mentioned above, in 2007 I allowed my focus to stray away from mtts -- easily my bread-n-butter as far as poker goes, as well as being by far my favorite type of poker to play -- and although I was successful in what I was looking to do in that year, my overall profitability results definitively suffered from this lack of mtt focus. My success during 2008 has only emboldened my spirit to continue to grow as an mtt player in 2009. This means continuing to take my shots at nightly tournaments like the 40k ($75 buyin), the 32k ($26 buyin) and the 50-50 ($55 buyin) on full tilt, the 70k ($55 buyin) and the 100k ($162 buyin) on stars, and the juicy 20k deep stack ($129 buyin) and 30k sniper ($129 buyin) tournaments on UltimateBet. These are fields I have beaten several times and which I know I can have success in, and in most of those tournaments listed above, I am solidly profitable for my lifetime of playing in them. For some reason the 40k and 32k on full tilt have not been so kind to me, but all the others have paid out handsomely for me and I have no reason to expect that to change during 2009.

3. Increase my focus at mtt final tables, and make the required adjustments to get me into the top 3 more often. This is something I most definitely need to work on in order to take my game to the next level this year. As I look back over my 2008 results, I believe I had 15 total tournament scores of greater than $2000. That is great, and each one of those runs was special and valuable to me, but I can't help but see all the money I left on the table as well. Of those fifteen $2000+ cashes, only five of them were wins in the tournament (two of them were supersatellites with multiple winners), which leaves 10 other final tables where I failed to make it all the way. What's worse, of those other ten non-victorious 2k+ cashes, not one of them was better than 4th place. That right there absolutely sucks. I mean, on the one hand of course it's great to fight your way through 1200 donkeys to make the final table of one of these nightly fonkfests, sure. But to flame out at the final table and end short of at least 3rd place is just such a waste of a dominating run. The bottom line is that the top 3 places is where the real money is in these things, and to fight the good fight ten different times and survive fields of 1000+ people, only to bust in 6th or 8th and win $770 or $560 is just not what I'm looking for. Now, if I knew that every one of those early final table bustouts were suckouts or bad beats, that's one thing and there's never anything you're gonna be able to do about that. But the bottom line is that I know on at least two or three of those occasions, I made a play without focusing properly and based my decisions on less than perfect information. On a couple of other occasions I made an ill-advised bluff against a guy who in retrospect was simply not going to fold. And a few times I straight-up overplayed a hand that was just not worth getting it allin with that many players still remaining at the final table and the chipstack I was sitting on at the time. With mtts, the simple fact is that one 1st-place finish usually pays about as much as ten 8th place finishes, and in order to really pump up my return on investment from playing mtts, I am going to need to perform better in the clutch in 2009.

4. Use the stop-n-go more. This may seem like a weird goal for me, but in reality it's definitely a place I am below-average in compared to my peers. The stop n go is a very powerful move, particularly late in mtts where allin-or-fold decisions become more and more prevalent with the blinds escalating ever higher compared to stack sizes. My natural inclination again and again in these situations is just to push allin preflop and try to make the other guy fold. Usually this works, and in general it's a good if not necessary way to play late in any large nlh tournament. However, there is a time and a place for the preflop push, and a time and a place for waiting until the flop to make my move, and this is an area where I almost never opt to exercise some restraint. In a few of my final tables, and in way more than a few of my deep (top-100 or top-50) runs in mtts in 2008, I know I busted from the tournament with a hand like 66 when I reraised allin preflop, got called by a guy on a big stack holding the JackAce, and then lost on a board that went K94J2. In a number of these situations, I need to do a better job of evaluating the circumstances and my big-stacked opponents' likely hand ranges, and better determine those times where waiting to see if the flop comes all rags might give me a far better chance to push allin with my pocket pair on the flop and elicit the fold I need from my opponent. Truth be told, the stop n go is a move I barely ever use late in mtts, and while that has worked fine for me so far, I know it can work much better for me if I can work that move into my repertoire. So you can expect to see more stopping and going from me in 2009 on the poker tables, and if you don't, feel free to yell at me in the chatbox.

5. Moving on to some non-poker goals as in previous years, I definitely plan to write about non-poker topics here on the blog in 2009, hopefully moreso even than in 2008. I don't ever foresee this stopping being a poker blog first and foremost, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, I get a real kick out of writing about things like tv, movies, sports, the crapconomy, and many other topics. At some point a year or two ago I recall feeling very stifled with my blog in that I did not feel the freedom to write about things other than poker. In 2007 I did a very small amount of extra-poker posting, but 2008 was really the year where that aspect of this little corner of the blogiverse truly shined. And I loved it, and the readers here both new and old seem to as well for the most part. So, I am planning to stick with that approach moving forward here. What topics I will be writing about in 2009 is anybody's guess at this point. But rest assured this space will continue to be my opportunity to ramble on about whatever is on my mind at the time, with a primary focus on the poker topics that got me started writing here in the first place. A lot of people have suggested I go the multiple blog route, but the bottom line is that 10,000 words a day doesn't write itself, and I have always said that taking on responsibility for even one more blog would be an abject waste of time for me, I simply could not fit it all in and do all of those outlets justice for my writing. So I'm not going to try. I will remain a one-blog man in 2009, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on everything in this space over the coming months.

6. Lastly, bury the hatchet. I have some long-running feuds with a few bloggers / readers out there, most of which to be honest are not started by me but have certainly been continued by me here on the blog. As a rule, when someone accuses me of something I did not do, when someone goes out of their way to make me look bad, when someone outright lies about me and puts me in a negative light to serve their own agenda, or when someone just pulls a generally dick move on me, I don't tend to forget about it quickly or easily. And, if I may be pompously frank for a lifetime minute here, I happen to have been born with an incredible knack for slamming on people who deserve it, and this blog has been the picture perfect outlet for my little vengeful barbs against those who have wronged me in the past. But to be perfectly honest about it, I don't feel any actual ill will towards any of these people anymore, not in the least bit, and some of the slammage I have unleashed on people here on the blog over the past few months has been more to teach them a lesson than because I actually give a crap. I am sincerely hoping that will stop in 2009. I don't make any promises about what you will or will not see here in the blog next year, but what I do promise is that my intention, sitting here right now in early January, is to continue to make strides to not be negative about other people in my blog, something I have been working on for more than a couple of years now, to largely successful results. Shit, my girly chat friends know the number of times I have had something negative to say about someone but have kept it out of the blog, because I do not and never did want my blog to be a place to call individuals out for their play, at least not in a way that is hurtful or embarrassing. It's obvious from much of the content out there that a great number of bloggers clearly do not share that feeling, and while I fully support their right to use their blogs for whatever purposes they want, suffice it to say that I do not believe a blog should be used to make other individuals look bad in the eyes of others. We've got several multi-accounters in our little group (ironically a couple of the biggest people who call me out for "cheating" which I have never done and would never do), we've got outright cheaters, liars, colluders, chip dumpers, incessant bad beat complainers, dickheads, losers, annoyingass mofos, you name it and we have them in our group. But I have gone out of my way not to mention those things here because as I've said many times over the past couple of years, I do not want my own personal space on the Internets to be a place for petty insults directed at specific individuals that other people will read and possibly believe as the truth. I don't care a whit if others follow the same guidelines on their own blogs -- as I've said many times, blogs clearly are personal spaces to write whatever you want, whenever you want, no different from diaries really, and it is in my view utterly ludicrous for anyone to tell anyone what they should or should not write in their blog -- but for me, in my blog, that's a choice I have tried to stick with over the past few years, and I plan to do more of the same in 2009.

That's it I guess. Not quite the specific list of goals I have come up with in previous years, but frankly it is interesting to see how things have changed from year to year for me in terms of my poker- and blog-related desires. However 2009 ends up, I look forward to another fun year of blogging and to interacting with you all like this blog has become known for over the past several years.

Happy New Year to everyone out there in bloggerland.

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Blogger sootedshit said...

Hey Hoy, really cool to read about your 2009 goals. When you posted your review of 2008 goals about a week ago, I decided to make my own list for '09 as well. I also experienced shitty writer's block, but got some legit goals down. Hope to see ya destroy those donkaments.

6:24 AM  
Blogger zach said...

how do you plan to play 200 + dollars worth of buyins a night with only hundreds of dollars on each site? Do you plan on reloading your account every couple days?

Generally in order to play the 5050 one would need to have at least ~2000 dollars on a site. Im sure you know how to balance and protect a bankroll so Im going to assume that you will maintain the same poker bankroll merely have the money at home instead of online. This is a fine option but I fear that it will be much harder to track your wins and losses if you are constantly moving money onto and off of the sites. It is much easier to log on and see how much your roll has fluctuated. Good luck though,

6:38 AM  
Blogger Riggstad said...

I think all in all Hoy that '08 was a very fun year. Lots of stuff going on in blogger land.

Al's crazy BBThree sucked the life out of most. (dollar sign) mokee started up his little sell out tournament, which I absolutely loved btw, and every swinging dick that had a blog and an online poker accout tried, or at least thought about, setting up their own private tournament.

There was a ton if shit going on and a ton at stake. I think that took its toll on a lot of folks.

We had scandals, spats, disapperances, and of course Waffles. (always gotta mention the little guy).

Through it all I don't think anyone got hurt, or took anything personally. We're all better for it in the long run.

I look forward to those more personal posts as hand history analysis, save a few gems, just suck tend to suck me dry as well.

Here's to a great '09 and hopefully you and I get to toss 'em around some in AC at some point.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Schaubs said...

You forgot... "Win the Mookie in 2009"

Do you seriously think there are colluders and chip dumpers out there? I would think that they would be the same people that are multi accounters...?

Otherwise, I am confused.

You must have proof or sumting...

11:36 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

After you said "Bury the hatchet" you say the following:

"We've got several multi-accounters in our little group (ironically a couple of the biggest people who call me out for "cheating" which I have never done and would never do), we've got outright cheaters, liars, colluders, chip dumpers, incessant bad beat complainers, dickheads, losers, annoyingass mofos, you name it and we have them in our group. But I have gone out of my way not to mention those things here"

I love this blog and will read it every day you post. The poker stories rock but the unintentional comedy scale stuff keeps bringing me back. Honestly not trying to be a dick, but you have a strong personality and it comes out in everything you write.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Time to bare your soul.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

I.e. time to bring out the gimp (and I don't mean Waffles).

1:44 AM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

I can understand that blogger may not have enough disk space for you to out the dickheads and losers but "outright cheaters, colluders, chip dumpers" should be outed if you have solid case.

4:14 AM  
Blogger stevietreys said...

Keeping the money at lower levels at each site might be a good idea. With the economy so dicey, some sites could be in trouble this year.

6:46 PM  

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